Do You Have to Write Every Day? 10 Pros and Cons

Should writers make it a habit to write every day? Is that the secret to success? Is that what distinguishes “real” writers?

I used to think so. Often, when someone would ask me for my single recommendation for other writers, my go-to response was to reiterate some form of the advice from Peter de Vries that I’d had tacked above my desk for almost as long as I’d been writing:

I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.

I’ve dabbled in writing ever since I was a kid, but as soon as I got serious, around the time I finished high school, I started making writing a rock-solid part of my daily schedule. For many years, my writing time was firmly 4–6PM every afternoon, and Lord help anyone who interrupted that sacrosanct time. Usually, it was my favorite time of the day; other times, it was the worst, hardest, most agonizing time of the day. But thanks to that commitment to writing for two hours a day for at least five days a week, every week, I outlined, researched, wrote, edited, and published books that otherwise might never have seen the light of day.

Why You Should Write Every Day—And Why Maybe You Shouldn’t

When I say “writing every day,” I don’t necessarily mean every day. What I do mean is creating and sticking with a specific and regular schedule that has you writing more days than not. I still absolutely believe this practice is a secret to success. Certainly, I feel it was instrumental for myself as a young writer building discipline, skill, and experience.

Writing at its best is fun and glorious and an incredible high. But writing is also hard—mind-numbingly, soul-killingly hard sometimes. This is so for many reasons, some of them mental and practical, others personal and emotional. Regardless, it ain’t for the faint of heart. And so sometimes our motivation to keep going through the hard patches needs a little practical support. Solid writing schedules are one of the best methods of support I’ve personally found. The more entrenched the habit becomes, the less resistance the writer finds to showing up at the page.

Plus, how else do you rack up the words? As NaNoWriMo-ers can attest, one of the single best ways to turn a few scribbled sentences into a solid mass of scenes and chapters is to write, write, write. Show up every day, sit there for a designated amount of time, and just go. And keep going. Hours turn into days turn into weeks turn into months—turn into completed first drafts.

In short, writing every day or thereabouts is an amazing practice for any writer to cultivate. This is because writing, just like anything else, is a practice that requires discipline and commitment.

That said, “writing every day” is not a hard and fast rule. In some cases, it won’t even be the best rule. In recent years, my creative journey has taken me into my own uncharted waters. I’ve spent more days not writing than writing, as I’ve explored the world on the other side of discipline and learned that creativity is not always something that can or should show up according to my or anyone else’s schedule.

Today, let’s take a look at what I see as five pros of writing every day, as well as five potential cons.

5 Pros of Making It a Habit to Write Every Day

1. Consistency Promotes Discipline

We sometimes refer to writing as a “discipline,” and for good reason. Although it may be borne on the wings of inspiration and powered by the fuel of enthusiasm, writing of any stripe and especially storytelling is a craft of incredible complexity. Learning, growing, and studying to understand how it all works requires enough discipline on its own. Actually putting that into experiential practice is an often herculean effort.

In short, if you intend to stick with writing past the first adrenaline rush of first love, it will require discipline. Consistency promotes that discipline. Making a commitment to show up at the desk every day is what allows writers to ground into the tenacity and focus required not just to keep going with a story but to turn it into something great.

2. Discipline Can Help Create Flow

The word “discipline” sounds harsh. But the cool thing is that the more disciplined we are in maintaining a consistent practice, the easier it actually becomes. My favorite thing about schedules and routines is that they have the potential, when approached mindfully, to transform the hardest parts of life into ritual and flow.

Now, you can’t force this. Just because your almighty willpower determines you’re going to hammer writing into your schedule at a certain time and make it work, does not necessarily mean it will. Early on in my commitment to my writing, I kept reading about how all these admirable writers did their best writing first thing in the morning. I decided to give it a try—even though I am not a morning person. It did not go well. In dread of having to bounce out of bed and immediately rocket my brain into the stratosphere of high-concept thinking, I hit the snooze button more than I ever had in my life. I didn’t get much writing done during those weeks. For my body and my life at that time, the flow just wasn’t there—and as a result, neither was the discipline.

As I’ve gotten older and better at heeding my own daily rhythms, I’ve also gotten better and better at hacking my daily schedule to optimize different tasks to different times of the day. These days, I do like writing in the mornings, but not first thing. Breakfast, yoga, and coffee have to happen first.

3. “Trains” Your Brain to Be Regularly Creative

In correlation with the Peter de Vries quote at the beginning of the post, there’s a school of thought that suggests you can “train” your brain to be regularly creative at a certain time of the day. Basically, you can enhance your own natural flow by training yourself to take full advantage of it.

Whether or not this is actually true, my own personal experience has been that I feel far less inner resistance to work of any kind when I consistently show up for it at the same time every day. Certain other familiar “cues” can also help. For me, turning on background music and having a cup of coffee at hand help me ground my brain into focusing on “writing time.” Over the years, I’ve also played with different “warm-up” routines to help ease my mind and my energy into the right state. These days, I usually just do a quick grounding meditation/visualization to get out of my “chatter brain” and into my body.

4. Promises Steady Productivity

The fastest way I know to rack up a word count is to work on it every day. In general, I’ve always preferred daily time goals (i.e., write two hours) rather than word count goals. I use word-count goals on the occasions when I’m feeling a lot of resistance (aka, spending most of my writing time daydreaming or checking email). But if I’m showing up at the desk regularly and really writing for my allotted time, that’s when I’m most likely to outstrip even the word-count goals. Day after day after day, that adds up fast—and before you know it, you’ve finished the book.

5. Cuts Through Both Excuses and Regret

No matter how much resistance we can sometimes feel toward doing the actual writing, we still tend to feel greater regret and even guilt when we don’t write on a regular basis. Setting up a schedule and sticking to it is one of the best ways to cut straight through the regret of not-writing.

The biggest hurdle to setting up a writing schedule is often our own excuses:

Oh, I just don’t have the time.

Or, My writing isn’t as important as this other thing.

Or, I keep getting interrupted whenever I want to write.

Sometimes we think other people are the ones who don’t respect our writing schedules, but something I learned early on was that others would only respect my writing schedules insofar as I respected them myself. Once that schedule is in place and you’re committed to upholding it, it becomes a shield against both the excuses and the resultant regret that can dog us when we feel unproductive.

5 Cons of Forcing Yourself to Write Every Day

So what about the dark side of writing every day? If it’s as great as the above makes it sound (and it is), then why is there even another side to the conversation?

1. Interrupts Natural Spontaneity—and Sometimes Creativity

As per the de Vries quote, you can train your brain to be creative on demand—to a certain extent. But at the end of the day, creativity and inspiration are linked to spontaneity. If discipline is Order, then I equate creativity with a certain amount of Chaos. Too much order, and you may succeed in eliminating all that scary chaos from your life—but the creativity goes with it.

The creation of and adherence to writing schedules will not, in themselves, unbalance order and creativity. But relying on them mindlessly will. The key is to use discipline as a tool to promote productivity while still keeping your finger on the pulse of your creativity’s needs.

It needs the day off? Honor that.

It wants to write on the weekends this time? Honor that.

It doesn’t like what you’re writing even though you’re determined to finish it? Maybe take a good hard look at that too.

2. Overrides Intuition and Instinct Regarding Personal Patterns and Needs

Probably no surprise that I like Order and err toward it, so it’s also probably no surprise that one of the greatest learning experiences of my adult years has been the discovery that life and its processes cannot be treated like an automated machine. This is directly true of writing, creativity, and art, but more deeply so because all of those things are rooted in the catalysts of life itself—such as intuition and instinct, out of which inspiration and creativity are birthed.

When the practice of writing every day is in flow with our natural rhythms, those rhythms are only enhanced. But if we’re superimposing discipline or willpower over the needs of those natural rhythms, we risk not just cutting ourselves off from them but damaging them.

3. Ignores the Need for Other Types of Creativity

If you’re a one-track-minded writer like me (and bless you if you’re not), it can be easy to forget that you are capable of many types of creativity. Indeed, your writing is just but one face of the creative force innate within you. As I realized during a long hiatus from writing, “I am not a Writer. I am someone who writes.”

Writing cannot happen in a vacuum. Sometimes the most responsible thing we can do for our writing is to not write. Take that scheduled writing time and do something else. Go out and experience life. Learn how to paint, take pictures, dance, decorate, sing. It’s all fodder for the muse. As Henry David Thoreau says in a quote I appreciate more with every passing year of my life:

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

4. Creates Cycles of Failure and Guilt

As mentioned above, writing schedules can be a wonderful tool for overcoming excuses and their resultant regret. But when they’re out of balance, they can also create cycles of failure and guilt. You were supposed to write today, but didn’t? Oops, now the inner critic gets to have a field day.

Examine your relationship to your writing schedules (or lack thereof). They should function as solid support systems to help you ease resistance and lack of motivation. They won’t always make these easy, and sticking with them will sometimes feel like a major inner battle. But you should feel good about them more times than not. If you’re using those schedules and structures to batter yourself into productivity and berate yourself when you fail, it’s time to reexamine what’s really going on.

5. Can Cause (and Intensify) Burnout

You are the master of your schedules, your goals, and your commitments—not the other way around. You are the one choosing to write on a regular basis and enacting a schedule that will help you do so. If, however, you begin to feel that the schedule is becoming the master of you, something is awry. If you refuse to make adjustments and just keep plowing ahead, the result can be burnout. If you still keep going, the burnout gets worse. And as so many people in the last decade or so have discovered, burnout is not something that goes away overnight. It is a real phenomenon of mental, emotional, and physical depletion. Just as with poor nutrition, you can’t build back overnight what you’ve lost over a long period of time.

This doesn’t mean schedules are bad or dangerous. But writing is, first and foremost, a creative emergent. You can’t output and output and output without also scheduling time to refill the well.

***

So… should you write every day? Ultimately, that is a question only you can answer for yourself—based on a deep knowing of your own rhythms, needs, and goals. My shorthand answer would be: Sometimes you should write every day. Scheduling that kind of commitment into your life is a powerful tool, but as with any type of commitment, it comes with costs that must be carefully counted and paid.

The real metric at play here is simply that of balance. Are you balancing a conscious nurturing and care of your creativity against the level of exertion and output you are putting into writing? As long as the levels are commensurate, you’re unlikely to find that writing too much is ever a problem.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! Do you write every day? Why or why not? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. Thank you for this inspirational post

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thanks for reading!

      • Lynette Bernard says

        I start to write at 10am four days a week, don’t word count but continue until I’m happy to stop. 10am works to relax me for writing, after a walk and some gardening. I’m unsettled if the washings not hung out or something is on my mind so get that sorted before 10am.

  2. Grace Dvorachek says

    This is a question I have asked myself many times throughout my writing journey. I tend to be a more structured person, but writing was always the one thing I never wanted structured. (Which is why I was so vehemently against plots at first.) However, I wrote when I felt like it, which, for a while, was pretty much every day.

    Recently, I was faced with a bout of writer’s block. I still have yet to figure out the exact cause of it, but one of the results was that I didn’t feel like writing much at all. I struggled with this for a while, trying to force myself to just write anyway. But I ended up taking another break, which I think was one of the reasons that I’m coming back from the block now instead of down the road.

    During that break, I actually did do a painting and focused more on my musical abilities. I decided that I would write, but it would be whatever and whenever I wanted to write. So I started multiple poems and short stories that I never finished and maybe never will.

    Now I am back at it again, albeit at a more cautious pace so as not to cause a relapse, and I’m looking back at this experience to learn from it. Not only have I been trying to discover why I got writer’s block in the first place, but I’ve also discovered how I got out of it. So now I don’t write every single day, and I do still have to make myself write some days. But other days—they’re becoming more frequent—I feel both excited and inspired to write, just like I used to.

  3. I usually write ever day, but I’m currently giving myself a two week vacation. I’m still doing research, a little marketing, and I cut in some chapters yesterday, but I’m not actually writing. I think it’s difficult for me to stop for long because I always feel like if I stop every time I have a flare or things go wrong, I’ll never accomplish anything. As it is, however, I think I’m suffering from burnout, so I’m trying to indulge in some self-care.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It’s taken me a long time to understand that self-care *is* part of being a writer. 😉

  4. philipguin says

    One thing I’d add is that, in my experience, creative output is what my body does when _everything else_ is in working order. So when you’re struggling with a health issue, or getting terrible sleep, that spontaneity can be completely absent, and your emotional response can become blunted. So one thing to try if you just can’t get motivated is to examine those other parts of your life and see if you can improve them. Easier said than done, but definitely a game changer for me.

  5. An interesting approach to this problem is advocated by Kenneth Atchity in his 1986 book, A Writer’s Time. Atchity says writers should break their work into segments — brainstorming, research, first draft, revision, etc, — and work on each with “vacations” between each. This, he claims, lets the wellspring of creativity recharge. The approach works for me.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’ve always broken my process into similar segments, but I like the idea of a “vacation” betwen each.

  6. Thanks for another helpful post. I find that if I write every day or at least very regularly I’m totally immersed in the story and characters which makes writing easier and I get better ideas. If I take long breaks between writing sessions eg a week or so, I lose momentum. it’s a bit like watching a television series where you leave long gaps between episodes and struggle to recall what happened. I also used to think that if I couldn’t sit down for a couple of hours it wasn’t worth bothering, and although a couple of hours each day remains my ideal, if some days that’s not possible it’s still worth writing for say 20 minutes because it keeps me connected to my story.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Same here. Even taking a week off for a trip or something can really pull me out the groove.

  7. I don’t write as often as I should, but I find that when I do spend time on my novel every day or at least most days, it helps me to start living in the world of the story and characters, which makes me think about it even when I’m not sitting down to write, which leads to more ideas I can use later. (I’ve learned the hard way that I need to make a note of these immediately or I’ll forget them.) So that’s a big benefit that I remind myself of when I need motivation to make the time to write more regularly.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, and if you can’t write, sometimes just setting aside five minutes or so to consciously daydream about the story can be helpful for maintaining flow when you do dive back in.

  8. My current writing “practice” is to write one scene every Sunday morning in an online writing session. That’s it. I’ve actually never been this disciplined about it before. I should have the first draft of a novel at the end of the year.

    I will probably never be an every day writer and have stopped reading articles with titles like “How to Establish a Daily Writing Practice.” Phooey. Continuing to hit that goal only set me back.

    The one morning a week works for me–and for all five of the pro reasons in the article. In fact, it’s working so well I’m starting to buddy up with another write to add one more one-hour session to my week.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, it’s all about finding the process that works for you. I do think consistency is key, but that consistency can just as easily be “one day a week” as “every day.”

  9. A very unique post, Katie!

    I write in scenes (Opening, Obstacles, Outcome). When I’m creating a draft (like now), I try to write a scene a day. Mostly I make it, sometimes not. If not, I go for a swim or a hike.

  10. Colleen F Janik says

    I love the idea of having a regular writing schedule, but haven’t managed to keep a consistent time. A few things that have made a difference with me is having a PLACE where I feel more inspired. While I was getting my upstairs remodeled, I was working in my basement (not a pretty place) with florescent lighting. Surprising, that was the one place where I managed to stay more focused for longer periods of time. Was it the lighting?
    Other things that have aided my inspiration are gardening and playing my piano. So many times while I’m plinking away on my piano, I’m struck with brilliant new inspirations and have to stop and write.
    And sometimes those great inspirations just hit me from out of the blue, and I stop and write my notes on my phone.
    At some point in my life I would like to plan two hours a day to write. I just haven’t figured out how to manage to chaos of life.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      As a matter of fact, I also find that lighting can make a huge difference. I’ve done some of my best writing on dark winter evenings with just a single lamp. Something about the “containment” of writing in that one little bright spot helps me stay focused.

  11. Victoria C Leo says

    Thank you SO much for the Cons. So glad I figured this one out for myself, too. Regular writing hours worked well for me for non-fiction. It also works well for the discipline – but I am someone who writes any part of a novel that feels right and if I’m blocked in the chronological Chapter 2, I jump into the more engaging big scenes where I’m not blocked (because I know what needs to happen there). But these days, I understand my creative process so much better and my planned 3 days/week are a light-pencil plan, not India ink. If I am drifting off to sleep and a key scene bursts into brilliant color, I get up and capture as much as I can. If I get a sudden insight at a non-writing time, it is suddenly a writing time, and gets marked off as Writing Time.

    An unacknowledged factor in the writing discipline dogma is that it’s easier to do if you have a formula to write to. I am creating alien characters and alien worlds that need to make sense to humans while not being ‘Humans with pointy ears’ whose psychology is the same as ours. I’m not going to create that in a month.

    The best part of writing regularly is that the more you write, the more you have to analyze – what worked, what didn’t – and that is what makes you better. As my judo instructor explained: you need to learn each movement carefully and well, do it slowly so that your muscles learn it right. Doing something wrong, over and over, just solidifies that mistake so that you have to work 100 times harder to unlearn and relearn. But just pushing yourself for volume can mean you practicing and embossing your creative soul with how to produce lots and lots of dreck. As Katie says, perhaps ‘time on task’ is a better measure of production than pages. You need time to think creatively about a plot stall or a character that just doesn’t ‘feel’ right. Giving yourself time away from laundry or the fact that the porch just collapsed can be time to think outside your particular box. If you reduce pressure to produce pages, the resulting work can be higher quality. And that’s your ultimate goal, isn’t it?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      “I’m not going to create that in a month.”

      This is such an important point. Although it is certainly possible to write a great book in a month (or even less), most books will require much longer than that. Just realizing that and giving ourselves the time to accomplish what we’re really seeking to create can make a huge difference in how we approach the process.

  12. I write most days, but not every day. I was raised with a hard-driving work ethic that led to burnout. Now, I allow writing to flow like the rhythms and cycles that power all of life.

    Consider: Even breathing tenses then relaxes a muscle, but not always at the same rate. For many, a day requires sixteen hours of activity followed by eight hours of sleep. Others do better with a siesta. The concept of a week comes from the human need to rest after six days of work. We follow monthly cycles and seasonal cycles. We cannot harvest a crop, unless we planted it first, then allowed it to grow, mostly on its own. After harvest, we take time to celebrate because it is actually wise to savor the fruit of our labor.

    Likewise, it is good to write and it is good to give it a rest. That rest may be ten-minute break, a day, a week, a month, even a year. All such breaks are a useful part of the books I’ve published and my current works in progress.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      “I was raised with a hard-driving work ethic that led to burnout. Now, I allow writing to flow like the rhythms and cycles that power all of life.”

      Hear, hear.

      Regarding what you’re saying about the cycle of tension and relaxation, I’ve often thought of it in the scene structure terms of “scene” and “sequel.” Any story that is unbalanced with too many scenes and not enough sequels will suffer. Of course, the writing process is the same!

  13. Maybe this can help someone pondering this question. I am prone to overdoing things and burning out for weeks or months. It’s hard for me to find that balance between doing nothing and doing everything. I found a really helpful system called Elastic Habits as conceptualized by Stephen Guise in his book by the same name. Essentially you have three lateral options on any given day – so for me, writing, editing and critiquing, and then you have three vertical levels of each of those options, Mini, Plus, and Elite. Mini should be trivially easy to complete, my Mini goal for writing is just five minutes (the book actually recommends about two minutes.) The idea is you should be able to do it on your absolute worst day. The Plus level is a level that is not too hard but would feel satisfying, in my example, (since I’m fighting burnout), 15 minutes of writing, editing, or critiquing. The Elite level is your ideal. What would really make you excel at what you’re doing. My Elite goal is 40 minutes. So essentially this gives me nine different options to choose from on any given day, according to my energy and time. There’s no judgment or shame if you pick the Mini option, because the Mini option is the lynchpin of the whole system, it’s what keeps you going long enough to form a habit.

    This has really worked for me. Five minutes seemed like a lot at first, I was that burned out, but it was a low enough goal that I was willing to try. Now on most days five minutes becomes 15 or 40 minutes. Any level achievement is a win, because the real goal is a sustained habit, not some outstanding accomplishment on every single day of the week. I track these habits on a calendar with a different color sticker for each level of accomplishment. I can’t tell you how motivating this has been. It’s even made my writing sessions more productive and less angsty. I pulled myself out of complete burnout in one week.

    I wish I had this system in the past, because we all face challenges that derail our goals. Sometimes we have to take care of a family member, or we get a major illness, or, in my recent case, have a baby (who is now a toddler.) How many times have I said to myself, “I was doing so well until X happened.” Well this system is designed to be sustainable through any X. It’s not just all or nothing, wild success or complete failure. It’s building and sustaining habits for life. I definitely recommend the book Elastic Habits for anyone who might find this helpful.

  14. KM, your Thoreau quote in the post moved me – “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

    There are those who say writing memoir is egotistical or even narcissistic, as they sit and type pages of fantasy. If you’ve got the stories, share them in a creative, enjoyable medium. If you don’t have the stories, get off the chair and make something happen. There’s nothing wrong with fantasy – don’t get me wrong – but as they say you need to read-read-read your genre, you also need to live out there and experience the good and bad life has to offer.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I agree. Even those of us who are writing straight-up fiction are still, ultimately, writing the story of ourselves.

  15. Wonderful post.

    I’ve learned that a consistent schedule is the best way to increase my writing output in the longrun. Look at my blog, where I’ve posted something new at least once a week for over a decade (I don’t believe it’s been that long). I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t made it a habit to write at least one new blog post per week, even if it sucked.

    But balance is so important. If I schedule more than I can chew, it backfires (though maybe I’ll get some great writing done before the backfire).

  16. This article is very motivational inspiration to all Writers. The best advise is minimum 2 hours per day is the genuine Guru-mantra. Thank you K. M. Weiland to inspire us, sharing your experience. Discipline is the best creative driven vehicle.

  17. Ralph from Chicago says

    I am a writing hobbyist. So I don’t have a writing schedule yet.
    I got an idea for ONE murder mystery book during COVID, joined an online Writing Group at my local library to learn the “trade”, and began developing some of my characters and scenes as Writing Prompts. I may expand the same characters into maybe TWO more books. I hope to clear my calendar by September of my current obligations. I haven’t outline all scenes, and I don’t have antagonists.
    I spend most of my days or nights reading similar books to get ideas to incorporate into my character descriptions.

  18. This article arrived in my inbox at just the right moment. I wrote my first draft of a thriller more than a year ago and felt unmotivated to revisit it and make those dreaded edits. I’m now stuck in bed with Covid and picked it back up just two days ago, beginning the process. I’m a bit excited actually. But having read this, I’m determined to build up a routine to help me. I need schedules and processes to ensure my success. I feel inspired! Thank you.

  19. I do write everyday, but I’ve restricted Sunday to short writing exercises. Because of this Saturday is super writing day.

    One thing I wanted to mention. You often read not to let your editor get in the way of your creative drafting voice, but one thing I’m noticing is that the best editing is a partially creative process as well. So, while your editing, you need to let your muse out of the closet and not treat it as a mechanical process. This came to mind because I find editing much more of a grind than drafting, probably because I spend so much time at it, but frankly some of it is fairly mechanical. Working a little creativity in can be helpful.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Really good point about the necessity of keeping creativity in the editing process. Editing is one of my least favorite parts as well, probably because it is the creatively driest part for me.

  20. Melissa J. Troutman says

    I so appreciate this post — it’s 100% perfectly timed for me! It’s hard for me to write every day with chronic health issues that include a lot of brain fog, and I’m currently in the middle of a first-time cross-country move, but I’m desperate to hold onto SOME of my writing (I’m so close to finishing this draft!) and get very frustrated when days or weeks go by with zero progress. I believe I can read my body pretty well to know when it’s a writing day and when it’s not, but I also give myself plenty of excuses and sometimes don’t even try when I know I should, so I think aiming for some kind of routine (with grace) is what I need right now. Thank you for these thoughts, definitely sharing this post!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Very sorry to hear about your challenges. I hear you on the difficulties of holding onto your writing through major life changes. If you’re able to keep writing through the move, that’s fantastic. But if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up. There’s a time and a place for everything.

  21. James Hargreaves says

    This post is what I have needed for a long time!

    I stepped off the train of regular writing two years ago and have been struggling to find a way back on. I knew I needed to refill the creative tank but I have felt guilty for leaving my characters and story unfinished.
    I have missed the regular writing routine and hope to find a way back into it soon!
    Thanks so much for the encouragement and support!

  22. Heretic!
    … Just kidding! Thanks, as ever, for your thoughtful analysis.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Haha. I’m learning to eat a lot of my youthful assumptions about the writing life. 😉

  23. Mpho Keitumetse says

    Hi Kim and everyone.

    Thanks again for an awesome post, and I’ve learned a lot from the comments as well.

    I used to be a super morning person. 4 a.m. every morning, Monday to Friday I was up and at it. I am writing a short novel in three parts and I was able to finish the first two “books” during that period. Then I got pregnant and that flew right out of the window. Baby is three months old now, but I still find it impossible to make 4 a.m. happen anymore. At least for the moment.

    What hasn’t changed, however, is that, as a person who writes ;), I can’t go for extensive periods without working. I become the most awful crank. I get short tempered and snappy, so I know that writing regularly is an essential part of my self-care, as well as allowing me to be a better person for all my other roles in life.

    Long story short, I loved being able to work so consistently because I could see daily progress, even if it was only a paragraph or editing a scene on some days. I miss that, and I look forward to the days when I can reclaim that space.

    Thanks again, and I look forward to the next post!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      “I know that writing regularly is an essential part of my self-care.”

      This is such a beautiful and important recognition. I think we all can lose sight of this. I know I have at different times in my life. But this is what it’s really all about, isn’t it?

      Also, moms who write are incredible.

  24. Thanks for these inspiring reminders. I learned from NaNoWriMo how much discipline it takes to write every day, and also that I have it in me to do that. But the burnout wasn’t worth it. When I’m in writing mode, I write five days a week, weekends off. I know I need time to relax or just be away from it, so I can come back to it refreshed. I’m not a morning person at all, so attempting that particular discipline would have been a sure failure. You’re right about establishing the discipline that works for you. Thanks again!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I find it’s got to be all about finding a sustainable rhythm–one that balances productivity with rejuvenation.

  25. “I am not a Writer. I am someone who writes.” I literally felt a weight lift from me when I read that. I want to thank you so much. I lock myself in these labels and get stuck. I used to play guitar all the time and when I stopped I felt bad. “I’m a musician, I should be playing.” It was forced at that point, and it still is sometimes. I think I’m learning how to let go of these things when it’s the right time to move on.
    Also, I’m a really big fan of your books. I’m hooked on Wayfarer right now 😊

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      So glad you’re enjoying the post–and Wayfarer. 🙂

      And, yes, it can be so easy to box ourselves into “small” identities, when really they are just facets of our true selves.

  26. Felicia R Johnson says

    I am so glad I read this post! I’m trying to get back into writing, feeling bad when describing myself as “the writer who doesn’t write.” I just got so burned out forcing myself to write every day and now I can give myself permission not to. I don’t have to call myself a Writer. Or tell other people I am. I write.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful posts! I’ve enjoyed reading them and learned so much from them.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I hear you. Life follows its own rhythms. Sometimes we feel like writing everyday; sometimes not. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not still doing exactly the right thing.

  27. As close as possible. On major holidays or my birthday, not. If I am editing, not. The times when I stop writing every day seven days a week as I did during the lockdown killed my productivity AND my creativity. Restarting was very difficult.

    I write least 500 words minimum and then keep going if my writing is going well. I think you underestimate the importance of training your brain to be creative. I don’t need some mysterious muse to show up because my creativity is always there in my brain. I do think that forcing yourself to write extremely long hours might risk burnout, so moderation is called for.

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